There are two things Humans fear: death, and shame.
Just two things, and they both more or less amount to the "end" of something desired. Death is the end of life, and shame is the end of self-hood.
To be shamed is in fact to experience the normal autonomic response of the fight/flight/freeze mechanism, but here, in this world Humans live in, the
shame response is 'trapped' within the confines of our consciousness - to be felt, lived, and known - and the structures that result - 'knowing
myself in this particular way
', are what carries out the process.
Death is the de-facto "bad" for all living things. There is no disputing this: all living things operate on the principle of avoiding death, which
it does by reconstructing itself through a network of chemical reactions that form between the inside of the cell (or organism) to the environmental
affordances themselves. Similarly, Human affective systems incline towards pride, which means avoiding feelings of shame.
If one can think of ones inner world as constituted by external "connections" with others as the "selection device" for how you end up behaving,
then the following chart can be seen to be a more specific description of the interaction at hand:
Humans interact through prediction systems. This is a basic fact discovered by the neurosciences which more or less matches experimental studies. The
brain evolved to match visual 'percepts' with cognitive 'percepts', so that the particular environmental salience (good or bad) would produce the
significant feeling (good or bad) which would activate cortical narrating processes that occur through symbolic-linguistic systems.
The Self is a function of the Human forebrain:
Just as the visual cortex tracks objects to create an emergent percept of a visualizable person, so to do mirror neurons in anterior cingulate,
insula. an orbito frontalal cortex pick up the relevant patterns that emanate from the other's we interact with. The "higher" pattern is the
narrative-structure itself, or the "way of being you" vis-à-vis the other you are interacting with. The object and the environment in question
imposes a selection-process on your approach, but also makes reflexive our responses to negative percepts.
The identificatory process - or "how I am, or the self I experience, under these conditions" i.e. say a library, makes me perceive and act this way,
as opposed to another way. Simple, right? Yes. But the world we live in has produced so much fantasy that people are unable to make out reality from
the things they see in the media. Dissociation and internal defense mechanisms against negative percepts, followed by a plethora of unconsciously
assimilated idealized objects used to ward off negative affects and the unconscious thought/fantasies they create, works almost instantaneously in the
mind, and it's not usually until after we notice ourselves having changed state for knowable reasons that we can begin to redirect our attention in a
more coherent and symmetrical direction.
Ultimately, however, evolution reveals itself to be more than merely about "avoiding death". Autopoiesis, or "self-recreation", also has
reproduction, and passing on a near clone of the last system so that the organism can keep itself going through 'time". But all organisms, even the
earliest protists, have some "oomph" for existing that becomes more and more apparent as life progresses, from the sea, to the land, to the
ferocious size of dinosaurs, to the acute sensitivity to behavioral signalling of mammals, to the play of more advanced mammals - and what play
suggests, in that it takes a group for play to become complex; and play, as every animal observer can see, requires reciprocity and return. Return -
or "experiencing the self being known" - in a vivacious mode, is the inducement factor for brain growth. Play - and the enlivenment that results
from return, is super-subtle, and not something the animal consciously knows or recognizes: its a mere emergent property of brain-function - more a
"detection" process of neurological systems than a phenomenologically active process.
Care, or in Human beings, what I call the "recognition process", is what the "identificatory need" is ultimately tuned to: Human mind-brains need
to feel connected to other humans to feel coherent and enlivened. The enlivenment is the end goal; the identificatory pattern with a larger
group-identity is the "key", as it were, that opens up the channels of connection.
Still, reality is much bigger and different than the world we know today. I am convinced that ancient Humans, evolving in the forests of Africa and
the middle East, did not experience the environment with the sort of threat that we see today. The mind they had flowed with far less entropy, and
with "entropy", or stress, comes a state of consciousness that is deficiency oriented: a state we call the "ego".
I wonder sometimes whether Teilhard De Chardin will end up being proven right about his claim that a belief that Humankinds future "lie in the
stars" is the false god of our times, and that in the face of what he calls the "Omega Point", that are interest will by neessity turn inward, into
our "inner-space", where something greater and more transcendent lies.
This is a scary thought to someone richly invested in todays fantasies. The human is assumed to be a byproduct of randomness, as opposed to an
organism held in place by it's affects of love, awe and play - its "teleodynamism"?
This is the picture that will transform our human future. Love is not just an emotion, but an ordering principle within our body's physiology
The academics who mock and make fun of those who call for "safe spaces", fail miserably to understand or appreciate how their own disaffection from
the concept of a safe-space, and what it ultimately links to later on, is a function of their own neurological/self development. The claim - the wish
- that the universe is different from what the evidence indicates, bespeaks of a civilization - perhaps the very describes in the bible as
"babblers" - people who speak in languages and exist in ways that dissociate them from metaphysical (quantum) reality - essentially equivalent to
baby's and their babbling - babbling egotists who think they can survive death or somehow trick reality, as if you and your feelings about things
weren't created by realities dynamics to begin with!
To say this differently, you only feel fear because there is an absence of love in you. You only feel confusion because you don't understand your
relation to the world around you. To feel love - to truly experience it in its purest sense - is to challenge the fears that prevent you from opening
yourself up. This is always shame, and shame, of course, is always the "kryptonite" of the Human, compelling the formation of anger, and resentment.